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THE MEDICS’ WAR (Text)

THE MEDICS’ WAR (Text)

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Published by Paul D Carrier
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 86-25950
ISBN: 978-1410224767
CMH Pub 20-5
951.9’042


This is the fourth volume published by the U.S. Army Center of Military History in its United States Army in the Korean War
series. Once termed a police action, the Korean War was fought by massed armies on a constricted field of operations. Its
battles were as intense as those of any other war this century.
The Medics’ War views this conflict from an uncommon angle. It documents the efforts of American Army doctors, nurses, and
enlisted medics to save life and repair the damages wrought by wounds and disease. Though the charges of biological warfare
made at the time are shown to have no foundation, the disease-ridden environment of wartime Korea aided the side with the best medical care. The real MASH clearly emerges in this study, along with the variety of technical innovations produced by the
conflict that have advanced medical science.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 86-25950
ISBN: 978-1410224767
CMH Pub 20-5
951.9’042


This is the fourth volume published by the U.S. Army Center of Military History in its United States Army in the Korean War
series. Once termed a police action, the Korean War was fought by massed armies on a constricted field of operations. Its
battles were as intense as those of any other war this century.
The Medics’ War views this conflict from an uncommon angle. It documents the efforts of American Army doctors, nurses, and
enlisted medics to save life and repair the damages wrought by wounds and disease. Though the charges of biological warfare
made at the time are shown to have no foundation, the disease-ridden environment of wartime Korea aided the side with the best medical care. The real MASH clearly emerges in this study, along with the variety of technical innovations produced by the
conflict that have advanced medical science.

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Published by: Paul D Carrier on Apr 01, 2013
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05/14/2014

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THE MEDICS’ WAR
 
PROLOGUE
The UnexpectedWar
In the rain-soaked predawn darkness of 25 June 1950 the armed forces of Communist North Korea crossed the 38th Parallel, aiming at a quick conquestof the ill-armed and ill-prepared Republic of Korea (ROK). Within three daysthe capital city of Seoul fell, and refugees thronged the roads leading south. Inthe United States, which had helped to create and sponsor the South Koreangovernment, news of the attack arrived on the evening of the twenty-fourth(Washington time). For many high officials the first reaction was utter surprise.Maj. Gen. Raymond W. Bliss, the quiet, gentlemanly Yankee then serving assurgeon general of the Army, remarked to his staff that “just a week or so agoG-2 made the statement that we would be alerted perhaps 6 months before any[Communist] invasion and at least 10 days. We had not a moment’s noticeregarding Korea.”
1
Since World War II the American military had looked to a general conflictwith the Communist powers as the only alternative to peace. No plan existed fora limited war or for partial mobilization. Yet American leaders discovered onthe morrow of the invasion that the strategic significance of Korea was as greatas when, a generation earlier, Japan, China, and Russia had struggled over theunhappy nation. Its moral
significance
in a world divided by the Cold War intotwo armed camps was incalculable. In the week that followed, President Harry
S.
Truman and his advisers improvised a national policy to resist armed aggres-sion and sought the support of the United Nations (U.N.) for the effort. Withoutawaiting U.N. action, Washington committed air, naval, and then ground forces
to the conflict.
21
Quoted words from Surgeon General Early Morning Conference Notes (hereinafter cited as SG
Conference Notes), 26
Jun
 
50,
Medical Collection,
HRB.
All manuscript sources given withoutrecord group (RG) numbers, unless otherwise stated; are in the U.S. Army Center of Military
History (CMH), Washington,
D.C.;
location within CMH is specified by the following codes: HRB
(Historical Records Branch), CHA (Clinical History Activity),
SSB
(Staff Support Branch), LIB(Library), and HSF (Historian’s source file). Those sources with RG numbers are in the National
Archives and Records Administration
(NARA)
Washington,
D.C.;
location within NARA is speci-
fied by the following codes: MMHB (Modern Military Headquarters Branch); MMFB (Modern
Military Field Branch), PAB (Printed Archives Branch), and
WNRC
(Washington National Records
Center).
2
Walter G. Hermes, “Survey of Planning for the Mobilization and Deployment of Army Divi-sions,
1944–1968,”
CMH Historical Study, rev. (Washington,
D.C.,
 
1968),
pp. 1-11, project file 74,
SSB;
Joseph C.
Goulden,
Korea: The Untold Story
of the
War (New
York: Times Books,
1982),
pp.
84–105.

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